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Lemme Show You How It's Done

I guide my new acquisition through his paces as family members watch politely.

It takes mere seconds for the Appaloosa gelding to cover the 90 feet separating the two barrels. We circle the far barrel cleanly before galloping back to where we’d started.

Anything I can do, my uncle does better. He’ll show us what this horse is capable of under a firm and experienced hand. He mounts the animal, racing the length of the fence line and executing several figure eights before pausing beside the first barrel. With a sharp kick and slap of the reins, the pair charges forward.

Horse and rider lean into the turn, bodies moving in unison…until the gelding breaks left and my uncle sails right.

We rush to where the stunned man sits, feet still in stirrups, posterior firmly planted in the saddle. Peals of uncontrollable laughter undermine expressions of concern.

A length of thin, pliant leather holds a saddle in place. Unfortunately, I – a novice equestrian – did not recognize the poor condition of the strap.

We learn two lessons as my uncle, ego deflated, limps painfully from the pasture: examine the latigo for signs of wear, and pride does go before a fall.

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